Dr. Wale Babalakin, the Pro-Chancellor, University of Lagos (Unilag), has tendered his resignation letter. This followed the alleged disagreement with the federal government’s visitation panel sent to the university.
His letter of resignation was addressed to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, and copied to President Muhammadu Buhari. He thanked Buhari for giving him the opportunity to serve as the Pro-Chancellor from May 2017.
Meanwhile, many lecturers at the University of Lagos have expressed their delight over the resignation of the former Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the institution.
The lecturers, who spoke through Dr Dele Ashiru, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Unilag branch, described Babalakin’s exit as “a welcome development”.
“It (Babalakin’s resignation) is a welcome development. We thank the visitor to our university, through the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, for putting an end to tyranny, authoritarianism, and dictatorship in Unilag.”
“It is now obvious that no individual can be greater than a society. We want to advise that in the future, the government should be more cautious when looking for people to appoint to head educational institutions. It is our prayer that the type of Babalakin never come our way again”, Ashiru said
Ashiru said that the lecturers are in a happy that they now have a university that is not the extension of Babalakin’s chambers. Besides, the lecturers now have a university where freedom, respect for fundamental human rights, the dignity of academia can prevail.
Babalakin’s resignation came a few hours after a Presidential Visitation Panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari, to look into the crisis that led to the removal of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, submitted its report.
In his letter of resignation, Babalakin noted that recent events in the institution led to his exit, stating that all federal government representatives who were the independent members on the Governing Council voted for the Vice-Chancellor’s removal.
He faulted the terms of reference of the committee, noting that they were set to achieve a predetermined agenda. As he insisted that the membership of the panel was inappropriate.
“How can a committee of Vice-Chancellors determine the culpability or otherwise of the actions of a Pro-Chancellor and a Governing Council?” On the face of it, it is simply wrong! Furthermore, the Vice-Chancellors on the Panel were drawn from relatively smaller universities who are not likely to have a comprehensive understanding of the procedure contained in the University of Lagos Act (as amended).
“Even Vice-Chancellors of state universities were included. As Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team, I know the challenges faced with the administration of state universities. I only appeared before the Panel out of my very great respect for you, Sir. My training as a lawyer revealed to me very clearly, that the Panel was inappropriate for the assignment.
“During my appearance, I made it very clear that I was appearing in protest and the Panel, as constituted, could not determine the issues before it. The active participation of the staff of the Ministry of Education in the Panel and their contributions throughout the sittings especially the hounding of witnesses who came to testify against the Vice-Chancellor was enough to show very clearly that the technocrats in the Ministry had a defined agenda”, he said.